How to Write a Book: The Creative Process
A good handful of book authors exist within the Coil community such as Steven Sands and Sandra Scala, both amazingly talented. I am also an author and have published a few books on Amazon over the years. My book-writing journey started with fitness since I worked as a certified personal trainer back in 2012. I now focus on writing about digital assets because that niche is what I've been studying for 2 years and will continue to do so into the near future.
This article is designed to give you glimpse into the process I use when writing a book and is also the way I am currently composing one called Exploring XRP. I've been writing this book on and off since September and still moving forward towards a release date goal of Q2 2020.
The following process is simply MY blueprint and if you're an existing author, you most likely have your own process already in place. But, if you are considering becoming an author, or you want a fresh perspective, feel free to use this information to your advantage.
Initial inspiration is the very first step of the book writing process. In fact, this part does not even involve writing of any kind. The inspiration for a book usually comes as a result of a need seen in the marketplace, or as one is going about their day and all of a sudden are hit with a “good idea' that just won't go away.
For me, it is usually a combination of both seeing a need and also having an idea one day as I am working out at the gym or taking a walk down a nature trail. Of course, there will be times when multiple ideas will flood into the mind, which is when you want to sift through them by moving on to the brainstorming stage.
Brainstorming is when you actually pull out your handy dandy notebook or your Evernote app and go to town with your inspired ideas. The brainstorming process can take days to work through, but it is a crucial step in the beginning stages of the book writing process.
Write down or type out as many ideas revolving around your topic that you can. Usually this will involve multiple sessions of writing and then walking away to go do something else like eating or exercising (or even chores). When you brainstorm, it allows you to get as many thoughts as you can out of your head and onto the paper or screen where you can then refer back to them without relying on your memory.
Outlining is one of my favorite parts of writing a book because it resembles list creation, and I am a list person. As a free-spirit, lists help me stay organized and focused. They add structure and stability, almost serving as the backbone used to hold the rest of the book in place.
For outlining, I will refer to my brainstorming sessions and build a list of chapters and sub-chapters, pulling from those written ideas. First I will start with the chapters. Then, after all chapters are written out, I will start on the sub-chapters.
Note 1: Books are fluid in nature, meaning that they evolve over time as you write them. In other words, chapters and sub-chapters will change or be added throughout the process. Understand that they are not set in stone.
Note 2: I use either Notepad or Evernote on my laptop to compose my outlines. Notepad is the simplest one and usually comes loaded on all Windows machines. Evernote requires a download and installation.
Formatting is crucially important when writing a book of any length or genre. The last thing you want to do is compose an incredible piece only for it to be ruined because of bad formatting. Since I publish on Amazon, the tool that I like to use is called Kindle Create Add-In for Microsoft Word.
I use the Kindle plugin to format not only my text, but also the physical dimensions of my book. It can complete useful tasks for you such as loading pre-built chapter pages and helping build your table of contents without being a Word wizard. Use this tool to build the structure and layout of your book right from the beginning so that you don't have to worry about it later on in the process.
Title / Sub-title Choice
The title you choose is important because it will be the difference between someone picking up your book or moving quickly on to the next one. Your title, and sub-title, need to be concise yet attention grabbing, letting the potential reader know what they're in for.
If you are into blogging or copy-writing, then you have experience with writing headlines. A book title is kind of like an article headline in that it needs to entice the reader's curiosity, causing them to pick up it or to add it to their cart. Experiment with different titles and try to keep it short yet to the point.
Front and Back Matter
The front matter of a book consists of sections such as the title page, table of contents, copyright details, and publisher's logo. Back matter includes pages such as a glossary, an about the author section, or an about the book area.
It's important to nail down these areas as they will cover everything from legal matters up to getting to know you, the author, from an interesting perspective. Again, the Kindle Create Add-In will help you make these pages and fit them nicely into your book.
Writing the contents of the book is the most time-consuming, but also the most rewarding as this is where you are continually adding value to your audience by sharing what you know. If your book is fictional, then this part will allow you to truly craft your best characters and creative story lines.
Even though I prefer typing, you can also use dictation services like Google sheets to simply speak into the microphone on your laptop as it gets turned into words on the screen. It's similar to when you're in the car and you use the voice to text instead of actually typing. I usually like to write in the order of my chapters but sometimes I bounce around when I have an idea that needs documented right away.
Make sure to take your time with the writing writing portion of the process as it has the tendency to take hours upon hours of focus and dedication. If you feel yourself getting too tired, then save it for another time of day or even for the next day so that you can rest and then write when your mind is fresh.
Cover design is right up there with title choice. Potential readers will look at the cover first, the title second. If the cover intrigues them, then they will read the title. If the title intrigues them, then they are extremely likely to want to read the book.
For cover design, there are times when I have an image in mind that I draw myself. I then have a designer on Fiverr or Upwork turn it into a real cover for Amazon Kindle. If you are having a physical book made in addition to an eBook, then you need to prepare a summary of your book as well as a photo of you and a brief bio.
If you don't have an image in mind of what you want the cover to look like, then browse around Amazon at the different books in your genre and send a few to your designer to help give them a frame of reference for what you like.
Let's say the book is completed besides the cover that your designer is still working on. It is now coming real close to the moment you officially publish your book. Now is the time when you want to send a PDF copy to either friends or family, or, if you don't trust them, choose a proof reader on sites such as Fiverr or Upwork just like you did for your cover.
Proof reading is an absolute must to maintain your credibility as an author. You can have an excellent story or a top-notch educational piece, but if your grammar is off or words are misspelled, then it will not be an enjoyable experience for your readers and you may get some unpleasant reviews as a result.
Ready to Publish
Usually, when I am confident that everything is completed the way I want it, I will give the book a final glance over. The cover has come back from the designer and your proof-reading friend did their job, now you give it a final look-over before uploading it to Kindle or whatever platform you want to use.
Of course, when you self-publish on a platform like Amazon, its easy to edit your book and then re-upload the new version. Normally it will go live on the site within 24-48 hours both on the eBook version and on the paperback version.
*Now to get some honest reviews on your book...*
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